Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29th, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was 7th out of nine children. (Brothers: Sigmund "Jackie", Toriano "Tito", Jermaine, Marlon, Steven "Randy"; Sisters: Rebbie, Janet and La-Toya Jackson).
His musical career began at a young age. He was just 5-years-old when he became the lead singer of the Jackson 5, which was formed in 1954.
In the early years, the five brothers, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and lead singer Michael played at local clubs and bars in Gary, Indiana.
As their talent grew, so did their audience. They competed in competitions and shared the stage with other Motown giants at the time, including Jackie Wilson.
In 1968, the Jackson 5 was discovered by Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers. From there came their audition at Motown Records. The Jackson 5 signed a deal with Motown and moved to California.
Their first four singles, "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There" all made U.S. No1 hits. The Jackson 5 recorded 14 albums and Michael recorded four solo albums with Motown.
After nearly 10 years with Motown, the Jackson 5 moved on in their musical careers. They signed with Epic and changed their name to The Jacksons, as they had been known in the earlier years.
Brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy's daughter and stayed with Motown, while the youngest brother Randy joined The Jacksons in his place.
The Jacksons produced six albums between the years of 1976 and 1984.
In 1977, Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical 'The Wiz'. He played the Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. It was during that time, that Michael met Quincy Jones who was doing the score for the film.
From that meeting, Michael teamed up with Jones to create his first solo album with Epic Records. The album titled, "Off The Wall" was a not only a big success in the United States, but also around the world. It was the first album ever to release a record breaking four, Number 1 singles in the U.S.
In 1982, Michael Jackson released the world's largest selling album of all time, 'Thriller'. The album produced seven hit singles, breaking records along the way. It went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide.
To promote his singles from the album, Michael was eager to use music videos or short films as he called them. He worked with the best directors and producers, using the latest technology and special effects for the hit song “Billie Jean”.
To create the infamous 14-minute short film to “Thriller”, Michael used the latest make-up artists’ technology, combined with fantastic dancing and choreography. After its release, “The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller” became the world's largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales.
In 1983, Michael performed the legendary moonwalk for the first time on the “Motown 25 Years Anniversary Show”. His performance alone set Michael undeniably into the realm of a superstar.
In 1984, Michael won a record breaking eight Grammy awards in one night. The awards were for his work on the “Thriller” album and his work on the narrative for the “ET Storybook”.
At the last concert of The Jackson's Victory Tour, December 9th 1984, Michael announced he was splitting from the group and going solo.
In 1987, Michael released his much awaited third solo album, titled “Bad”, and launched his record breaking first solo world tour.
Michael wrote his first autobiography in 1988, talking for the first time on his childhood and his career. At the end of the 1980s, Michael was named “Artist of the Decade” for the success of the albums, “Thriller” and “Bad”.
A few years later, in 1991, Michael signed with Sony Music. It was the largest ever recording contract in music history. That year, he released his fourth solo album, “Dangerous”.
In 1992, he began a world tour, taking his concerts to countries that had never before been visited by a pop/rock artist.
From that tour, Michael founded the “Heal the World Foundation” to help improve the lives of children across the world.
In 1994, Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis Presley. The marriage only lasted for 19 months, as they divorced in 1996.
Michael released his fifth solo album in 1995, titled “History”. It was a double album, which included new material and his greatest hits.
After the release of “History”, Michael went on tour again, covering a two-year period.
On November 14th 1996, in between legs of the tour, Michael married for his second time to Debbie Rowe. She was a nurse that Michael had met in the treatment of his skin pigment disorder. Together they had their first child, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., born on February 13th, 1997. Just over a year later, their daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson was born on April 3rd, 1998.
In 1997, Michael released the remix album “Blood on the Dance Floor”, which also contained five new songs and a 38 minute film, "Ghosts". In the short film, Michael played five different roles using the latest special effects and make-up artistry, combined with his dance and music.
In September, 2001 Michael celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo artist with two concerts, both held in New York.
Many artists, including Whitney Houston, Usher, and Destiny’s Child, performed their own music, as well as Michael Jackson’s past hits.
Michael then reunited with all of his brothers and performed their biggest hits. He then went on to perform some of his biggest solo hits of the previous decades.
In October 2001, Michael released the album “Invincible”, releasing only two singles, including the big hit, "You Rock My World". He was now becoming better known for his bizarre behavior. His peculiarity was often reported in the tabloids, and he was no longer being remembered for his performances.
The album sold well, but stories of his odd behavior started to overshadow his talent. He often appeared in public wearing a surgical mask, and he hid his children's faces under veils.
At the 2002 MTV awards show, Michael seemed confused and disoriented on stage. Soon after, his peculiar behavior continued. He received enormous criticism for dangling his son, Prince Michael II, over a balcony while greeting fans in Germany.
Other scandals and legal woes soon followed, after allegations of charges related to incidents with a 13-year-old boy were made in 2004.
However, on June 14th, 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all the charges against him.
From there, he was reportedly in dire financial troubles; Jackson chose to sell his famous Neverland Ranch in 2008.
Around the same time he announced the selling of the ranch, Michael announced he would be performing a series of concerts in London as his "final curtain call."
There was much speculation regarding whether the often fragile-appearing singer would be able to handle the rigorous schedule of 50 concerts.
However, despite all of the accusations and stories of strange behavior, Jackson remained a music icon. As news of his concert plans spread, interest grew. Set to appear at the O2 Arena beginning July 8th, 2009, in just a four-hour timeframe, tickets to the show sold out.
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died suddenly of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, just before the concert series. He was 50 years old.